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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Wildland Fire
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Learning More About Being A Wildland Firefighter



Explore imageHow can I learn more about being a Wildland Firefighter (WFF) prior to pursuing a job?

Researching the field of wildland fire management should be an important part of your preparation for this career, and you can learn about the field in many ways.  You've taken a good first step in using this roadmap, but there is more.

Over the past few years, a handful of documentaries have been produced on the subject of wildland fire.  Viewing these programs may help.  Many universities and community colleges have courses, and a few offer degrees, in wildland fire science.  A meeting with an advisor or faculty member could be a good way to learn about the field.

Get online and see what's available.  Here are a list of documentaries/publications you may want to search for:
  • "Fire Wars" (episode of Nova; 2002)
  • Red Skies of Montana (1952)
  • Smoke Jumpers (AKA In the Line of Duty: Smoke Jumpers; 1996)
  • Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone (TV; 2006)
  • Trial by Fire (AKA Smoke Jumper; 2008)
You may find some of the links on our Veterans Links page to be helpful.  A trip to the library might be useful, too.

After you've done some reading about wildland firefighting, a good second step would be to make an appointment and visit a unit that hires, trains, and puts crews to work.  The U.S. Forest Service employs firefighters in much of the country, as do many Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and tribal entities.  Get in contact with the fire management officer at these places, share your story, and ask for a tour of the unit's facilities.